RD1 Spirits Unveils Distillery Plans for $5-Million Brand Destination
Award-winning Bourbon Brand Poised to Draw More Tourists to Lexington
LEXINGTON, Ky. (January 11, 2024) – RD1 Spirits, an award-winning Kentucky Straight Bourbon brand, has unveiled plans for its $4.8 million brand destination, RD1 Distillery at The Commons. This new location will serve as the anchor tenant of The Commons, Lexington’s newest entertainment district, uniting life, work, and play.
RD1 Distillery at The Commons will honor Lexington’s bourbon history dating back to 1865 while showcasing modern-day innovation with wood finishing. With 10,215 square feet, RD1’s new brand destination will more than double the size of RD1’s existing Tasting Room & Gift Shop on Manchester Road, complementing this fast-growing, Lexington-based brand.
“RD1 is expanding the boundaries of Lexington’s Distillery District, and strengthening the appeal of what the great city of Lexington has to offer,” said Mark Stoops, RD1 shareholder and advisor, and Lexington business leader. “As one of the newest brands added to the Kentucky Bourbon TrailⓇ, RD1 Distillery at The Commons will help boost hometown pride and contribute to the vibrant, winning atmosphere of our community.”
With the new distillery, RD1 will offer additional, customized experiences for guests to explore RD1’s portfolio of Kentucky Straight Bourbon and wood-finished, bourbon expressions.
The two-story RD1 Distillery at The Commons features outdoor seating areas on both levels, overlooking a historic water tower, a visible marker for the entertainment district that will feature RD1 artwork. The brand destination will include an interactive, history-meets-innovation experience of Lexington’s bourbon milestones; a fermentation-to-distillation tour; four private tasting rooms; a glass-enclosed R&D lab for wood finishing of Kentucky Straight Bourbon and barrel thieving; a VIP speakeasy tasting room; a craft cocktail bar; a gift shop; and space for private events.
“RD1 looks to allow guests to experience bourbon in a way that’s most comfortable to them,” said Mike Tetterton, chief executive officer of RD1 and long-time Lexington resident and entrepreneur. “For most of us, that starts with exploring your palate. From there, we like to ask ‘what else can bourbon do?’ And we fill that curiosity by experimenting with different woods that delicately dance with the bourbon and really draw some exceptional flavor profiles.”
AN R&D DISTILLERY
RD1 Distillery at The Commons will include an 800-gallon pot still that is the hub of the operation. In addition, the location will also house a 175-gallon pot still, a 750-gallon fermenter, and a 1,000-gallon mash cooker. The distillery is expected to produce one barrel per week for the sole purpose of research and development. RD1 will continue to produce its Kentucky Straight Bourbon at Western Kentucky Distilling in Beaver Dam, Ky, under 8th-generation Master Distiller Jacob Call.
Bourbon industry veteran Don Hardwick of Louisville – also a shareholder in RD1 – is leading the distillery design of RD1 Distillery at The Commons.
“We want RD1 Distillery at The Commons to serve as a cornerstone of education, exploration and entertainment in Lexington,” Tetterton added. “As a brand founded by Lexington entrepreneurs, we are motivated by the bourbon giants of our past and look to honor them with bourbon growth right here in our hometown.”
In December 2023, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced approval of $521,000 in incentives for RD1’s project from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority, upon recommendation by the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
“This exciting new investment will provide a great bourbon experience for visitors to the Fayette County area. As we continue to see growth in Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry, projects like this are also adding momentum to our tourism efforts,” said Gov. Beshear. “I want to congratulate RD1 Spirits’ leadership and look forward to the positive impact the project will have on the tourism industry and the local community.”
RD1 Distillery at The Commons is expected to open in August 2024. Once fully operational, RD1 looks to create 11 full-time job positions.
The RD1 Story
As a brand founded to celebrate meaningful firsts, RD1 – which stands for Registered Distillery One – was founded in 2020 to help keep the story alive of some of Lexington’s first bourbon entrepreneurs, who founded Ashland Distillery in 1865. Ashland, which later changed ownership and became more widely known as the William Tarr Distillery, was Lexington’s first federally registered distillery.
“We’re not only fascinated by bourbon’s rich history but also in writing that next chapter,” Tetterton said. “It’s an honor and responsibility that we take seriously to help grow Fayette County and contribute to Kentucky as a whole.”
RD1’s award-winning portfolio includes RD1’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished With French Oak, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished With Brazilian Amburana Wood, and Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Double Finished In Oak and Maple Barrels.
The brand has experienced tremendous growth in 2023, including expanded distribution to now 16 states with an expectation of 25 states by the end of 2024. RD1 earned 66 awards in 2023, the majority gold and platinum for high marks in taste categories.
RD1 Distillery at The Commons will be located at 113 Turner Commons Way in Lexington and will sit at the entertainment district entrance, right off Main Street. The Commons will feature more than 600 parking spaces in the development, providing ample space for distillery guests. Also included in the development plans are high-end, short-term vacation rentals; creative office space; a 0.7-mile walking trail; an adventure park with axe-throwing and high-speed go-karts; and a state-of-the-art music venue that promises to be a premier destination for live entertainment. The Commons is poised to become Lexington's leading venue for uniting life, work, and play in one dynamic and interactive space.
"We're thrilled to welcome RD1 as an anchor tenant at The Commons,” said Daren Turner, chief executive officer of The Commons. “Their dedication to quality and community aligns perfectly with our vision for this development. RD1 complements our diverse tenants and embodies our mission of 'Uniting Life, Work, and Play.' Their innovative approach to bourbon and commitment to creating memorable experiences will undoubtedly enrich The Commons' ecosystem.”
RD1 has worked closely with several partners on the development of the facility including architectural and design firm Lord Aeck Sargent out of Lexington, and law firm McBrayer and engineering firm VITOK, both out of Louisville.
About RD1 Spirits
Based in Lexington, Kentucky, RD1 Spirits exists to explore the bourbon frontier. Lexington entrepreneurs founded the company in 2020 to help give life to the stories of Lexington’s bourbon firsts, namely its first federally registered distillery, established in 1865. RD1 is paving its own path, focusing on Kentucky Straight Bourbon and its interaction with various wood finishings in the barrel. For more information on this growing brand, visit RD1spirits.com or follow @RD1spirits on Facebook and Instagram.
About The Commons
The Commons, founded by Lexington native Daren Turner, is a transformative 40-acre mixed-use destination less than a mile from downtown on Main Street. Uniting life, work, and play, The Commons merges Lexington's rich history with modern innovation. It is revitalizing the former tobacco warehouse district into a vibrant hub for community engagement, culture, and connectivity. As the home to anchor tenants like RD1 Spirits and Goodwood Spirits and Brewing, it sets the stage for a new era of the bourbon legacy intertwined with cutting-edge development. For more information, visit thecommonslex.com and follow @TheCommonsLex on social media.